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Once Upon A Time Bina Ramani Was Czarina, And Rohit Khosla Was King...

26/05/2016 8:11 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:27 AM IST
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An Indian labourer cuts patterned fabric at the April Cornell clothing factory in Noida on the outskirts of New Delhi on October 16, 2012. The April Cornell company exports 50 percent of their clothing and linen production to the USA and Canada, and the rest to European Union countries. India's industrial output picked up pace in August, official data showed, growing 2.7 percent from the same month a year earlier in a better-than-expected but still muted performance. AFP PHOTO/ Andrew Caballero-Reynolds (Photo credit should read Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images)

So, old fogeys blog too. Fogeys like me who started writing lifestyle in newspapers at the time when the word "yuppie" was coined to great acclaim, and when a week in the life of a reporter was dotted with an Odishi dance performance by Sonal Mansingh one day, Bhimsen Joshi the next and a Ritu Kumar show once in a blue moon. When fashion was a big deal and couture was still being spelled in a hundred ways. Never mind the pronunciation.

Yes, pinch me; I am on the blog bandwagon.

Reliving the glorious past, treatise-ing on the present for all ye born-yesterday, mobile-toting zippy gen next. Who write in modern Morse code, drive past me in your swish-swash style, chat incessantly on Snapchat with that pretty girl living next door and never, just never, get off that damn couch which is now caving in!

It all began in 1988. What did I hear? None of you were born then? Too bad.

So let me first share my vintage, so that you handle my words with kitten gloves in blogs to come. I am a writer who started reporting on fashion in the eighties. When women of style were still getting their floral shalwar-kameez stitched at Shankar Market in Delhi and Elco Arcade in Mumbai. When inner-wear was tailored to fit as second skin and bespoke was "masterji" who sat under your staircase stitching away all day to go home with ₹100, leaving behind your denim skirt, mom's blouse and granny's nightie all stitched and ready.

Born in the gramophone era, when our mothers covered all things electrical with neat, white tapestry and we were warned not to touch the radio...

Those were the non-Botox, no-clones-allowed, "naturelle" days when every model looked distinct -- Anna Bredemyer, Sharmilla Khanna, Simar Duggal...

It all began in 1988. What did I hear? None of you were born then? Too bad. You missed seeing Ensemble and Ogaan, the first ever multi-brand stores come alive. You lost out on the gorgeous clothes Asha Sarabhai displayed at The Egg. You missed witnessing her collaborative work with Issey Miyake and you also did not see the emergence of today's top couturiers, who were then the crop of young, bumbling, design students raring to go and "change the world".

Those were the non-Botox, no-clones-allowed, "naturelle" days when every model looked distinct -- Anna Bredemyer, Sharmilla Khanna, Simar Duggal, Sonalika Oberoi, Dino Martelli, Milind Soman. When Rohit Bal with his flowing, shoulder-length hair had the guts to cut a jacket out of tapestry and sell it for the price of a Maruti car. When Suneet Varma created embroidery out of ropes and Rina Dhaka had just about every model stand around in chaddis. When Hauz Khas Village in New Delhi was about cow dung and credit cards and its founder Bina Ramani was the czarina of this world...

Rohit Khosla. No one, no one, but no one has come even two notches close to his charisma, his élan, his looks, his humility or his design sense.

When the king, the maharaja, the maestro of design lived. Rohit Khosla. No one, no one, but no one has come even two notches close to his charisma, his élan, his looks, his humility or his design sense. Whatever you guys think is new, he created in the short span he walked this earth.

Through this blog I only want to prove that we fogeys had fun too. Right through the bra-burning, flower-power and nouveau-style eras. Do I have your attention? See you soon.

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